Sunday World

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For the 19th century Irish Newspaper with the same name, see Sunday World (old newspaper).
Sunday World
Sw logo.JPG
Type Sunday newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) Independent News and Media
Editor Colm MacGinty
Founded 1970s
Political alignment Right wing populism
Headquarters Talbot Street, Dublin

The Sunday World is an Irish newspaper published by Sunday Newspapers Limited, a division of Independent News & Media. It is the second largest selling "popular" newspaper in the Republic of Ireland and is also sold in Northern Ireland (where a modified edition with more stories relevant to that region is produced).


It first hit shops on March 25th 1973.


In 2012, a voluntary redundancy scheme was put in place, which was oversubscribed.[1] In early 2013, it was announced that The Irish Daily Star and the Sunday World will start to share some functions.[2]

In 2014, another redundancy scheme was announced. The redundancy scheme was due to the sharing of functions with the Herald.[3]


  • Circulation was 285,214 for the period July to December 2008.[4]
  • Circulation was 270,453 for the period July to December 2009.[5]
  • Circulation was 208,281 for the period July to December 2013.[6]
  • Circulation was 178,867 for the period January to June 2015.[7]
  • Circulation was 175,060 for the period July to December 2015.[8]
  • Circulation was 162,938 for the period January to June 2016.[9]
  • Circulation was 149,652 for the period July to December 2016.[10]


The Sunday World was Ireland's first tabloid newspaper. It was launched in 1973 by Hugh McLaughlin and Gerry McGuinness. It broke new ground in terms of layout, content, agenda, columnists, and use of sexual imagery. It is currently the biggest selling tabloid newspaper in Ireland with combined sales north and south of around 210,000 copies each week. Its readership on the island is over one million people.

Investigative journalism[edit]

In 2001, a journalist working for the paper in Northern Ireland, Martin O'Hagan, was killed by Loyalist paramilitaries in Lurgan, Co Armagh. O'Hagan was the first journalist to draw attention to the activities of Billy Wright. Wright lived only a few miles from O'Hagan in north Armagh, and had attempted to have the journalist murdered in 1992. The threat was sufficient to cause O'Hagan to temporarily move to the Sunday World office in Dublin, and then to Cork. He continued working for the newspaper, returning to his family in Lurgan in the late 1990s. When killed, O'Hagan became the first reporter covering the Northern Ireland conflict to be killed by paramilitaries.[11][12]

On 1 May 2005 it alleged double standards by a prominent member of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). It claimed that the unionist politician, Paul Berry had been caught in a sting operation by the newspaper when he met a male masseur in a room booked under a false name in a Belfast hotel.[citation needed] According to the paper, Berry asked the man upon meeting him: "I hope you're a Prod?" Berry denied the allegations, claiming that he was seeking treatment for a sports injury, and is considering legal action. In the 2005 general election five days later Berry was the DUP candidate for Newry and Armagh but was one of the few DUP candidates to experience a fall in their share of the vote in favour of the Ulster Unionist Party while everywhere else in the province the DUP gained at the expense of its main rival. The DUP were to the forefront in the campaign of the 1970s and 1980s to stop the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Northern Ireland. On 4 July 2005 it was announced that Berry had been suspended from the DUP following an internal disciplinary panel meeting.

The paper has been noted in its hard-hitting coverage of crime in the Republic of Ireland compared to other papers. It has been to the forefront of exposing the emergence and growth of organised crime in Ireland throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. In the 1990s it broke the story about the secret life being led by controversial priest Fr Michael Cleary, revealing that he had a secret family with his housekeeper Phyllis Hamilton. Along with the Bishop Eamon Casey story and revelations about clerical child abuse, the Cleary story is viewed as one of the defining moments in the decline of the authority of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

In 2008 the paper was the first to expose the controversial fundraising activities of the House of Prayer run by self-proclaimed visionary Christina Gallagher in Achill, Co Mayo. It also revealed the lavish lifestyle Gallagher was leading. The House of Prayer made over 100 individual complaints to the press ombudsman about the investigation, all of which were dismissed.

In 2005 the paper was sued by a well known Dublin criminal figure Martin "the Viper" Foley after it reported that he was a leading figure in gang related crime and had links with the IRA elements.[citation needed] Foley argued that the report placed his life in jeopardy and sought to gag the paper. The attempt failed as the High Court rejected his allegations and refused to prevent further reporting.[13]

In 2010 the paper won a landmark legal ruling when a privacy and defamation case taken by Ruth Hickey was dismissed by the President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns. The ruling copperfastened the importance of freedom of expression in Irish law and stated that it can only be outweighed by the right to privacy in limited circumstances. Mr Justice Kearns also defended the right of the newspaper to publish information that was clearly in the public domain on the internet (in this case the infamous 'Zip Up Your Mickey' phone rant by Twink whose husband had left her for Ms Hickey.

On 19 March 2006, Sunday World reporter Hugh Jordan tracked down former Sinn Féin official and British Forces informant Denis Donaldson at a remote, rustic cottage in County Donegal.[14][15] Sixteen days later, Donaldson was murdered there, and the paper was heavily criticised for identifying and showing a photo of the location. In 2009 the Real IRA claimed responsibility for the killing.[16]

On 1 November 2009, Northern Editor Jim McDowell attracted complaints to the Press Complaints Commission after the paper published on the front page the photograph of a man hanging from a bridge, having killed himself under the headline "Halloween Horror".[17] McDowell claimed on the Stephen Nolan's BBC Radio Ulster show on 2 November that it was meant to dissuade individuals thinking about suicide but the decision to publish was condemned by suicide awareness and support groups.[18]

It is noted for its strong Irish coverage in a newspaper market awash with 'Irish editions' of the main British newspaper titles such as the Sunday Mirror and Mail on Sunday. Among its Irish sports writers are Pat Spillane, Paul McGrath, Kevin Moran, Charlie Nicholas, John Aldridge, Denis Irwin and Mick Galwey. Columnists include Amanda Brunker, Paddy Murray, Fr Brian Darcy and Daniel O'Donnell.


In 2008, the newspaper won the prize for the Newspaper of the Year (Sunday) at the annual Chartered Institute of Public Relations Press and Broadcast Awards for Northern Ireland.[19] The Sunday World Investigations Editor Nicola Tallant was named the Crime Reporter of the Year by the National Newspapers of Ireland, the first time the award was presented. Investigative journalist Paula Mackin won Journalist of the Year in 2013.

2017 Newsroom Merger with Herald[edit]

In March 2017, it was announced that INM are merging the Sunday World and The Herald newsrooms. [20]


  1. ^ Archived from the original on 2013-02-16.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^!story/Home/Media+And+Marketing/Star+and+Sunday+World+to+share+functions/id/19410615-5218-50ef-0060-6b7f41643990
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  6. ^ "ABC Sunday Newspaper Circulation July December 2013" Archived 12 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine.. iLevel. Feb 2013
  7. ^
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  11. ^ McDonald, Henry. "RUC chief blames loyalists for murder". The Guardian. 1 October 2001
  12. ^ Cusack, Jim. "Obituary: Martin O'Hagan". The Guardian. 1 October 2001
  13. ^ "Foley loses legal bid over newspaper articles". RTÉ News. 28 January 2005.
  14. ^ "Dispatches | Media". London: The Guardian. 10 April 2006. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  15. ^ McKittrick, David (5 April 2006). "The Execution: How an IRA man turned British spy met his brutal end – This Britain, UK". London: The Independent. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  16. ^ "Tribune News article, 2009". 12 April 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  17. ^ Greenslade, Roy (2 November 2009). "Roy Greenslade: 50 complaints to PCC over Sunday World suicide picture | Media |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  18. ^ "UK | Northern Ireland | PSNI chief 'shocked' by picture". BBC News. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  19. ^ "Irish News crowned daily newspaper of the year". Hold the Front Page (29 April 2008). Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2008. 
  20. ^

External links[edit]